Getting ready to fast for Tisha B’Av
Outside of Israel, unless you are a regular synagogue goer you may never have heard of Tisha B’Av even if you are Jewish. Living in Israel, of course (and one of the wonderful things about living in Israel), you can’t miss it. The stores are all closing in 3-2-1, if they haven’t closed already. Like on Yom Kippur, we fast on Tisha B’Av. So for those who don’t know what this, hm, holiday is not the right word, day of marking is, here’s a bit about it.
Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the calendar month Av) is a fast day which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from the Land of Israel. The day also commemorates other tragedies which occurred on the same day, including the Roman massacre of over 100,000 Jews at Betar in 132 CE. Instituted by the rabbis of 2nd-century Palestine, Tisha B’Av is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and a day which is destined for tragedy. Let’s hope not this year.
You might be tempted to think it was a coincidence or that maybe Biblical scholars screwed around with the dates but there is independent (via archeological finds and other means) verification that, indeed, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed on Av 9, but about 655 years apart!
Haredi Jews (ultra-orthodox) mark Tisha B’Av also as a remembrance for the Holocaust, while secular Jews here have a separate day here for that.